What You Need To Know About Inflammation

Inflammation is not a disease.

Inflammation is best described as a defense mechanism to limit tissue damage. It can be caused by infection, injury or immune conditions. In each case, the inflammation is the result of your immune system responding to another event.

When such an event occurs, a special cell called a neutrophil targets the damaged cells and releases a proinflammatory cytokine ( a natural substance used by the body for immune regulation ). This attracts more neutophil and begins a cycle of communication between neutrophil and macrophage ( a type of cell in your immune system that works to protect against infection and from toxins ). These signals are generated using structures composed of glyconutrients. This cycle would apply to the inflammation of the cells in a vein, the thyroid, intestine, liver, a muscle, the scalp, or any other collection of cells that are given a name.

When we take a drug or an herbal to "stop inflammation," we are really interrupting the natural process where the body is sending out signals to other helper cells to say "Hey, come deal with this." We are also interrupting the natural process where the body is sending signals to us saying "take it easy, we have something that needs care." Certainly inflammation can be a discomfort and an annoyance but the importance of inflammation as part of the immune response cannot be overstated.

After the immune cells have cleared out the source of the inflammation, additional immune cells begin a clean up process and engulf dead neutrophils and other cellular debris. If the process is successful, the body will return to normal levels of cells and mediators.

Inflammation is affected by diet in that certain nutrients play a role in the normal inflammation process. Various glyconutrients are used to construction glycoforms for signaling in the body and antioxidants bind to free radicals which may either be the source, or by product of, the damage.

In summary, inflammation is a normal cellular process. Your body induced inflammation in response to something else. While the process can lead to discomfort, it should be understood that medications and herbs which mask the inflammation by interfering with it may also be interfering with the underlying immune response.

Work with your doctor to manage your symptoms in the short term but then also factor in diet and lifestyle changes to help support the natural processes of the body. Every cell in your body has the natural ability to restore, protect and defend itself. Don't just turn them off for good. Studies have shown that concentrations of glyconutrients can have a very beneficial effect on inflammation. While the processes are still being studied, non-toxic glyconutrient supplements have been available to the public for over 10 years.

Dave Saunders is a certified nutritional educator, wellness coach and author. He is also the host of a weekly, nation-wide telephone lecture on health and nutrition. For additional information, please visit http://www.glycoboy.com or email Dave at [email protected]

In The News:

Adolescent nutrition  The Lancet
IRL picks up 'digital nutrition' startup  PitchBook News & Analysis

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